Protecting highway bridges against debris flows using lateral berms: A case study of the 2008 and 2011 Cheyang debris flow events, China

Fei Qiu, Jianling Huang, Yange Li, Zheng Han, Weidong Wang, Guangqi Chen, Xia Qu, Bin Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lateral berms are often constructed to protect highway bridges against debris flows in mountainous regions. Currently, different solutions for lateral berm design are debated. The lack of standardization results in the improper design of lateral berms, limiting the mitigating effect. In this paper, a monitoring case of the mitigating effect of a lateral berm is introduced. The lateral berm was constructed through a bridge culvert at the alluvial fan of a debris-flow gully. In September 2008, a debris flow in this gully completely buried the lateral berm. The proposed numerical integral method was used to back analyse the flowing velocity and mud depth in berm. Results supported the speculation that abrupt decreases in mud depth and flow velocity in the lateral berm caused deposits that compressed the effective berm depth and resulted in overtopping flow. Therefore, we suggested reducing the berm width in order to increase the flow velocity in the berm. In June 2011, another debris flow with a smaller magnitude occurred in the gully, and the reconstructed lateral berm reportedly performed well to protect the bridge of Yalu highway. The case studies highlighted that berm width should be one of the main considerations in the berm design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-210
Number of pages15
JournalGeomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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